Historical light walk

During this walk in the historical heart of Ghent, you will get to know all of the highlights the city has to offer. You'll find yourself in amazingly lit surroundings, with customised lighting for many monuments and historical buildings. Thanks to Ghent's special illumination plan, the city undergoes an incredible metamorphosis from dusk till midnight. You best start following this route once dusk sets in; however, also in the daytime, this walk takes you past the most beautiful spots in town. Click here to download the map (PDF file).

The start is situated at the centrally located Sint-Veerle square, right in the shade of the breath-taking Gravensteen or Castle of the Counts (1). With the Gravensteen in your back, you can see the ornate gate of the Oude Vismijn (old fish market) (2), where you will also find the tourist centre of the City of Ghent, for a map of the complete light walk route.

Water reflections

Turn around, cross the Leie and take a straight left into the Jan Breydelstraat, where, just across the Appelbrugje, you will find the Ghent design museum (3). Wander up the Appelbrugje and take in the views of the stunningly lit Groot Vleeshuis (4). When you walk straight on, you'll arrive at the Graslei and Korenlei (5), from where you have the most amazing view on the medieval inner harbour of Ghent. On clear days, pay special attention to the mesmerizing reflections of the buildings and the bridge on the water! In the evening, the illumination reveals details you won't notice in the daytime. At the end of the Korenlei, you find stairs leading you up the Sint-Michiels bridge (6), the perfect spot to behold the three towers of Ghent perfectly aligned, with the Sint-Michiels church (7) behind you. Take a short walk past the church to Onderbergen, where het Pand (8) is located. From the bridge, at the back of het Pand, you will be enchanted by the light installation 'L'oiseau blue de Mr Maeterlinck' (9), better known as Maeterlinck's blue birds, a remainder of the 2012 light festival, now part of the permanent illumination plan of the city.

Three towers

Cross the bridge in the direction of the Predikherenlei and continue towards the Korenmarkt. The first tower to cross your path is the one of the Sint-Niklaas church (9). Leave the church on your left to arrive at the modern Stadshal (city pavilion) (11), with Klokke Roeland (10) just in front. Just across, on your right hand side, you can see the front of the Metselaarshuis. The middle tower is the proud belfry (12) and some ten meters further on, the St Bavo cathedral (14) closes this majestic threesome. Do enter and pay a visit to the Lam Gods (open till 17h00).

Dulle Griet

Centrally located on the square you will find the Koninklijke Nederlandse Schouwburg (KNS), home base of the NT-Gent (13). Continue to the Botermarkt to feast your eyes on the stunningly illuminated Ghent city hall (15), then take a left into the Hoogpoort (16), where you take a right into the Werregarenstraatje (17). In the Onderstraat you again take a right, and then the first left (Serpentstraat) right up to when you arrive at the Vrijdagmarkt (18). Do take a short stop to admire the statue of Jacob van Artevelde. Cross the square and enter the Meerseniersstraatje, next to Ons Huis (19), onto the Zuivelbrug, from where you can see the large canon or 'Dulle Griet'.

Typically Ghent

Once across the bridge, you enter the Patershol, an authentic working-class neighbourhood today boasting a wealth of restaurants. Via the Rodekoningstraat, the Plotersgracht (first left) and the Hertogstraat (left), walk to the Kraanlei (20). Just a small U-turn brings you to the Huis van Alijn with its unique courtyard. When you then continue on the Kraanlei, you arrive back at the start, the Sint-Veerle square.

A small rest

Should you not feel like going to bed just yet, have a nightcap (or 2, 3...) in one of the many cafes around. In the daytime, you'll find some peace and quiet in the charming Museumcafé of the Huis van Alijn (until 17h30).

More info on the Illumination plan